tv The Situation Room CNN July 21, 2015 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
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mr. wolf blitzer in the situation room. happening now, breaking news terror leader killed a long time al qaeda operative taken up in a targeted air strike in northern syria, how did the u.s. find him. and is death disrupting american targets. al qaeda inspiration, new indications that the chattanooga gunman may have been a follower of a radical american al qaeda cleric is al qaeda now posing a new terror threat to the u.s. donald trump gives out the
personal cell phone income of his rival on live television is trump breathing new life into a stale bit of politics? nuclear ambition north korea rules out a nuclear agreement like the one with iran. it has no
interest while it continues to build its stockpile. the u.s. is dealing with one foe, could another amass as many as 100 nuclear weapons in the next few years? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in the situation room. the pentagon just announcing a major success with the death of a long time al qaeda operative. his death comes as the u.s. led coalition is stepping up blomings of isis targets. some shrouded in mystery.
we're covering the breaking news and more this hour cory gardiner is standing by to join us live. and mike huckabee is standing by as well. our correspondents and guests have full coverage. our position correspondent barbara starr is joining us. tell us what you have learned. >> good evening, the pentagon announcing a short time ago, the leader of the so-called khorasan group, a violent offshoot of al qaeda was killed july 8th in northern syria, this has been someone they had been looking for for a long time he was one of the few al qaeda operatives that had advanced knowledge of the 9/11 attacks so many years ago, he's said to be responsible, involved in october 2002 in a terrorist attack in kuwait that was against some u.s. marines and a french cargo
ship. this announcement today is about what they call a targeted attack that means u.s. intelligence the u.s. military when they launch that drone strike against him, they knew he was inside that vehicle, that means there was pretty good intelligence. they don't just launch. how did they know what was happening in northern syria, where there are no u.s. assets on the ground in northern syria. >> it comes as the coalition is pounding an isis strong hold barbara. >> again, in northern syria, the self-declared capital of the isis califate. northern syria, i have to tell you, very much in the u.s. crosshair s crosshairs.
u.s. aircraft continue pounding isis positions in iraq and syria. the most recent targets are mysterious. blast walls like these, have been bombed repeatedly in recent days. the so-called t-walls are barriers erected around areas like command centers and buildings isis wants to keep secure. >> if you knock down a t-wall or overcome a ditch, you're going to have the infantry force being able to maneuver more freely. >> cnn has learned whatever the walls were protecting it was on the priority target list for warplanes. bombing the blast walls could now open the way for ground forces, likely kurdish to move in unthinkable just weeks ago. u.s. commanders now have a network of intelligence on the ground. they're getting targeting coordinates around from the kurds who are strategically positioned just north of the city. >> they are heading with an assault force, they've been very
good at coordinating u.s. aircraft to go against isis. >> these leaflets airdroped by the u.s. the message, freedom will rise. a not so subtle warning to isis watch out. >> listen i'll be -- >> meeting with u.s. and coalition forces in jordan defense secretary ashe carter says in northern syria, ground operations are extremely effective. >> they couldn't have done what they did, without you. and your impact as air power wouldn't be lasting without them. >> the u.s. intelligence community now watching closely for reaction from isis leadership. >> it's been a year since this al baghdadi sur man surfaced with no new video yet to mark the end of ramadan.
questions about whether baghdadi has bigger concerns about his safety safety. why has no one seen or heard from al baghdadi in months? is he feeling the pressure from this stepped up campaign in northern syria, is he staying hidden moving around? and we don't know where he is? is he actually giving more authority to his local commanders to engage in attacks, because he has to stay hidden? all very intriguing questions we don't know the answers to. >> barbara star we're getting new information about mohammed abdulazeez the 24-year-old who shot and killed five u.s. servicemen in chattanooga, tennessee before being killed by police. investigators are searching for possible terror ties. our justice reporter is working this part of the story for us. what are you finding out, evan? >> this is a picture of radicalization. this is mohammed abdulazeez'
writings and cell phone that are giving a picture to investigators as to how that came along. back in 2013 some of his writings indicate he's part of the group in the arabian peninsula. fast forward to the last few days he's searching on his smart phone for information about martyr dom and whether this is a way for him to atone for some of his sins. this shows a picture to investigators what might explain some of his radicalization that may have taken root as early as two years ago and what he was thinking in the last few day as. >> in jordan authorities have picked up or at least
questioning his uncle. he spent several months in jordan last year. >> right, according to the uncle's lawyer he's been in detention by joerrdanian authorities since friday. he worked with the uncle's company when he was in jordan he stayed at his house, what the jordanians are trying to do is help the fbi figure out who else he may have come in contact, with whom he may have associated with while he was there about that may -- in addition to this information about his radicalization could help explain what happened on thursday. >> let's get more on what's going on. joining us now is core riz gardner of colorado thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks for having me on. >> you just heard the leader of the al qaeda operative group killed in an air strike they killed him, how dangerous is
this group, give us a little perspective on what this means? >> earlier in the show, you mentioned this is an individual who had knowledge about the september 11th aing tas, this is a dajs rouse individual any time we can mark one for the good guys that's a good day for our co igs and the free world. >> did you actually get briefed on the killing of this guy? >> i have not been briefed, i sit on the foreign relations committee. >> you welcome these kinds of -- whether it's a drone strike or an aircraft you welcome these kinds of targeted killings? >> >>. >> any time we have the kind of success we heard about today, that's a good day for our efforts and our people in the region region. >> let me get your thoughts on what's going on in chattanooga, we know that the shooter in this
case was apparently inspired at least in part by the american born al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, al alaki's teachings. >> this is a very deranged individual who committed a heinous act. and our thoughts and prayers to the families who suffered greatly, because of these killings. but to say that this was the result of a download from a rads cal cleric to say this was a result of visits to jordan who he may have encountered while he's in jordan we have to be careful to learn the facts before we jump to any kind of conclusion. >> we're not jumping to any conclusions. the facts as they're coming in they point to a picture of someone who apparently did have a history of depression maybe bipolar, maybe drug use, alcohol abuse. obviously, had some serious problems couldn't hold on to a job, but at the same time clearly at least according to
social media and the initial information we're getting, also at least in part inspired if not directly ordered to do what he did. >> and that's exactly -- what you just said ordered, that's a different task that inspired versus ordered. that's what we have to find out. that's our -- we have to get to the bottom of whether he was orders who did that what happened clearly if he was downloading radical cleric statements over the internetknow there may have been some inspiration that took place. we have to get to the bottom of this and find out who he was talking to and prevent the next killing from taking place. >> as we noted yesterday, one of his friends said he thought isis was stupid but that does not necessarily negate the possibility that aquap in his mind may be smart. isis in al qaeda as you know they split. they have different agendas at least slightly different agendas right now, we have no idea how significant that inspiration if not order was. we do know he went to jordan spent several months there last
year he went to kuwait, do you know if he visited other places in in the middle east. >> that is something we are waiting to hear back from the intelligence community to find out where he has been to find out exactly who he came into contact with and other associates that are under investigation. again, if we jump to a conclusion too early, i think it jeopardizes the results of what could be an ongoing study that would bring more people to justice in terms of other actors. >> you don't know if he actually -- because there are rumors out there that he may have had a side trip to yemen. that's the headquarters of aquap in the arabian peninsula. >> we have to be careful about what we know what we say he did. that's what the intelligence community is going to provide to us. i would hesitate to direct any kind of cause or association before we find out the truth. >> the fact that jordanian authorities, a close friend of the united states are holding his uncle for questioning right now, what does that say to you?
>> the jordanians are active participants and partners with the united states in our efforts to combat terrorism in isis and al qaeda. i believe the jordanians are doing everything they can to get to the bottom of this we will assist them in anyway possible. it's important they continue their investigation before we reach the wrong conclusion. >> starntd bynd by we have more to discuss. there's a lot going on right now. much more with cory gardner from colorado when we come back. are you moving forward fast enough? everywhere you look, it strategy is now business strategy. and a partnership with hp can help you accelerate down a path created by people, technology and ideas. to move your company from what it is now... to what it needs to become.
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the pentagon just announcing the death of a long time al qaeda operative. one of the leaders of a veteran of terrorists killed in northern syria. you see the leader of the khorasan group. he was killed in a u.s. air strike. back with republican senator cory gardner of colorado. let's talk about what's going on. you see these terror groups growing in syria, how concerned are you? the whole situation continues to be exploding? >> we know that 30 deaths involved near turkey. we know al baghdadi has been talking about spreading his control -- chain of command to try to give other people more
control in the middle east. we need to make sure we're effective in our efforts to bad, destroy isis. >> is there anything you would hear in testimony before the senate foreign relations committee in the coming days and weeks that would convince you to support the iran nuclear deal. >> we're going to be hearing on thursday from connect kerry, moniz and lew. the way i read the documentation, this is one expert called it a patient pathway for iran. to have the ability to achieve a nuclear bomb after ten years. we know that there are people who are responsible for responsible for the birth of iran's nuclear program, who get relief under the iran deal as it's written. not only does iran get a pathway after ten year ss to a nuclear bomb some people are going to
have relief who are responsible for the creation of iran's nuclear program in the first place, they do nothing in terms of -- they don't give up their threats against israel. they continue to fund hezbollah. it's very good for the iranians and very bad for the united states. >> if they were to release the hostages they're holding right now. would that convince you they're willing to start a fresh and go forward with a new agenda? >> just the past couple days we've heard reports from leaders in iran saying that the policy toward the united states will not change. that led secretary kerry to say that he has very large concerns about the statements the attitude of iran toward the united states. just in the recent -- the past few hours, we've heard secretary kerry questioning the intent of the iranians including the veracity of their word we need
to get these four hoss tarjs, these four americans released. a nuclear iran which this deal ashowers is no way forward for the united states. >> even if they release these four americans in the coming weeks it would not change your attitude toward the whole deal? >> we all welcome the release of four american hostages. israel will continue to be held hostage by iran. they will continue to terrorize the middle east. the bonus payments that they will receive, iran will receive as a result of entering into the deal will allow them to continue funding terrorism. i believe it was susan rice on your show said money will be used by the iranians to continue funding bad behavior. it went a little further saying the deal with iran was never intended to change their bad behavior i welcome the release, we should demand the release of four american hostages. to think we have created this patient pathway to a nuclear bomb is more acceptable. >> this was strictly a deal to
do away with iran's cape abilities. >> it didn't do that. >> they acknowledge it wasn't designed to stop their supporting terrorist organization s organizations in the region. it was strictly designed to deal with their nuclear program. >> in fact i think that's what the president has achieved. not only has he created a situation where we have sanctions that will be beginning to be released. the united nations acted first, sanctions are going to be lifted billions of dollars will start pouring into the iranian economy, and they've done nothing to say they'll change their behavior. secretary kerry is worried they will not change their attitudes one iota. the more and more people learn about in deal. the more and more concerns people have about the content of this supposed deal. >> i know you'll be at that hearing later this week quickly on the arrest by the u.k. of
these two isis sympathizers who were planning to attack u.s. service members in britain. i guess the bottom line question is how much of a target are american military personnel not only here in the united states but serving around the world, how much of a target? >> i think we've always known americans were targets. our men and women were particular terrorists. targets by terrorists. i think what this administration has done in terms of the weakness of this iran deal is it's lifted sort of the hesitation that terrorists might have against attacks by terrorist organizations against the united states when the united states presents an air of weakness we continue to treat iranian terrorists as equal partners that's exactly what we've done. >> thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. coming up a new round of name calling by donald trump.
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donald trump's speech today. >> this morning, you know they told me mr. trump -- because mr. bush said my tone is not nice. i said tone we need tone we need enthusiasm. jeb bush i'm not a fan of jeb bush. he's in favor of common core and weak on immigration. who would you rather have negotiating against china, trump or jeb? or trump or hillary? she's another one with a tone. season the it amazeing they both said tone the same day. i saw rick perry the other day, he's doing very poorly in the polls i put glasses on so people will think he's smart, it doesn't work. you have this guy lindsey graham here's a guy in the private sector he couldn't get a job, believe me.
senator, what a stiff. lindsey graham by the way, he's registered zero in the polls, he's on television all the time he gets out, he calls me a jackass. i'm trying to be nice i'm working hard to be nice. every time i turn on -- i have some guy hitting me hard the reason they're hitting me when you register zero in the polls, they have nothing to lose. lindsey graham says to me please please whatever you can do what is this guy, beggar. he gave me his number i found the card i wrote the number down i don't know if it's the right number let's try it 202-[ bleep ] i don't know maybe it's -- 3, 4 years ago, maybe it's an old number opinion 202-[ bleep ] so i don't know
give it a shot. your local politician he won't fix anything but at least he'll talk to you. >> with us now, one of donald trump's opponents, the former arkansas governor mike huckabee. what do you think, you just heard some of the excerpts some of the clips from his speech. i don't know if you watched him earlier, it's amazing when you think about it. >> well to quote toby keith's great song i want to talk about me. and you know sometimes all the interviews these days are about donald trump, but wolf if we don't get to some issues i'm going to give your cell phone number out on the air, and everybody in america will be calling you. >> that's a major threat arguably donald trump he's now the front-runner look at this
poll for the republican nomination. you're at 8% rubio 7, rand paul 6, why is he doing so well? >> he's striking a nerve with a lot of people who are fed up with government fed up with -- i think just a double mindedness on the part of so many people in politics. and he's speaking in such a blunt way. one of the things i hear out there, wolf there are some people who are not interested in someone going to washington and presiding over this country and governing, they're so angry that what they're thinking about is just burn it all down. i understand that range, as we get closer to electing a president. people are going to be thinking more about governing and less about just burning down the whole system. >> donald trump caused a huge
stir by saying what he said about john mccain when he was a pow. lindsey graham called him a jackass. is this the party, the republican party of ronald reagan? because you remember his 11th commandment. >> well i think, look there's 16 candidates and all the attention is being focused on one of the candidates who is being very plain spoken when i'm going out there and talking, i'm talking about jobs the trade deal the iranian threat i talk about implementing the fair tax, the horrors of this planned parenthood video that reminds us how utterly disgusting this whole process is. frankly, rarely does a person in a houn hall ever ask me about one of the other candidates they just don't. they ask me what i would do
about jobs the economy, how to get us safe again, how to deal with immigration, secure the border while everybody's talking about it it's not the predominant issue among the republican candidates. >> i'm going to get to several of those issues with you, including the iran nuclear deal you're a christian, a minister and donald trump was asked to talk a little bit about his relationship with god, listen to this exchange. >> have you ever asked god for forgiveness? >> i'm not sure i have. i just go on trying to do a better job from there, i don't think so i think i -- if i do something wrong, i think i just try to make it right. i don't bring god into the picture. i don't. now, when i take -- when we go to church and when i drink my little wine which is about the only wine i drink, and have my little cracker, that's a form of
asking for forgiveness, i do that as often as possible because i feel cleansed many. >> i want your quick reaction. and then we're going to move on to some major policy issues. go ahead. >> i have to ask god's forgiveness every day, when we understand what sin is it is the pride of putting self-above others and i think we all have that i challenge people if you don't think you're a sinner you don't think you're self-centered which is what it means to be a sinner the next time you get a group photo, look in that photo and tell me whose image do you look for first? we are born me first, and that's really what sin is and why we need to ask god's forgiveness that we don't elevate ourselves above others. >> we have more to discuss, i want to take a quick break, much more with republican presidential candidate mike huck huckabee right after this. no artificial flavors, and it's gluten-free.
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gesture of good will to the u.s. the iranians went ahead and released those four americans they're holding hostage? >> they should have done that before the united states ever sat down at that table. that should have been a precondition. the other two preconditions should have been that iran agrees that israel has a right to exist. and the third precondition should have been that they end the rhetoric of death to america. if those three conditions were not met, we never should have sat down and even started this conversation. much less ended up with this 159 page agreement which i read and it's alarming, and it obviously has everyone in that nand alarmed from the saudis to the egyptians, the jordanians and most certainly the israelis, but i'm one american who is outraged that this president is so intent on making a deal with people who haven't kept a deal in 36 years since the ayatollahs took power. >> if you do become president of
the united states let's say this deal gets through, there's not a two thirds majority to override a veto in the house and senate what would you do on day one as far as iran and this nuclear agreement is concerned? what would be your alternative? >> the alternative is to take the actions to revoke the agreement, reinstitute the sanctions on iran make it clear that this was a terrible deal. it was done in a manner that didn't really have the support of the american people was not done in the best interest of peace, and we have a new sheriff in town. the new sheriff is not going to accept that agreement as one we're going to live with we can't live with iran having nuclear power. we can't live with limb continuing to sponsor terrorism through hamas and hezbollah. kidnap americans, it's an unacceptable form of civilized behavior and we simply aren't going to negotiate with it. >> what if the iranians do honor
all of its nuclear commitments over the next year and a half? >> what if they're unicorns that are discovered somewhere in the middle east. show me when the iranians quit chanting death to america. they haven't. tell me when they stopped sponsoring terrorism and murdered people through hezbollah and through hamas. they haven't. so there are a lot of ifs there, but the one thing we know for certain, is that this deal is predicated on the absolute iron clad belief that the iranians can be trusted. somebody else may trust them i most certainly do not. and obviously, neither do the saudi arabian government officials. neither do the egyptians, the kuwaittys or anyone who's ever watched them 37 them. the unanimous 15-0 vote in favor of the iran nuclear agreement.
what secretary kerry says over the last year and a half two years, the iranians have kept their word as part of the commitments they made as part of the interim agreement. they haven't violated those commitments. >> well they also though put money toward hamas when hamas was launching rockets toward israel last year. i was in israel at the end of that conflict. i've been going to the middle east since 1973. my first trip there was 42 years ago, i've been through virtually every country in that region. and the one thing that i'm absolutely convinced of is if you really want to mess up the middle east just let the iranians continue to move toward having nuclear capacity take their sanctions away and give them the kind of 120 to $150 billion assets to start buying up weapons for the russians that enriches the russians, empowers the iranians and changes the
world. >> today president obama took a direct swipe at people like you, the critics of the iran nuclear deal and people who supported back in 2003 the war against iraq and saddam who say listen to president obama today. >> in the debate over this deal we're hearing the echos of some of the same policies and mint set that failed us in the past. the famed politicians and pundits that are so quick to reject the possibility of a diplomatic solution to iran's nuclear program are the same folks who are so quick to go to war in iraq. said it would take a few months. >> basically what he's saying is you were wrong then and you're wrong now, go ahead and respond. >> well if he really believes that the iranians are interested in a diplomatic solution they're going to suddenly quit being the snakes that they are, that you can charm them and make them behave he has a whole different understanding of snakes than i do having grown up in south arkansas where we
saw lots of snakes. and i just don't think that you can -- at any point take a nation that has consistently murdered people kidnapped people held political prisoners, shot young people in the streets for disagreeing with their government done everything they can to make it clear that their ultimate intentions are to destroy america and in the interim destroy israel. somehow think that those are the kind of folks you can sit down and really do business with i think it's an incredibly naive, the remark of a chamberlain, not a churchill. we need churchill's not chamberlains right now we have the rhetoric from this president that reminds me of chamberlain. >> mike huckabee the former ah, arc governor running for the republican nomination. we checked eight years ago when you were running, you were very low, one or two% in the polgs, you went on to win the iowa caucuses when they occur edred.
you got your work cut out ahead of you right now. we'll stay in close touch. we'll see you on the campaign trail, thanks very much about. >> thank you, wolf it's always a pleasure to be with you. coming up kim jung-un's regime could north korea be convinced to give up their weapons. >> a u.s. military strike in syria has killed one of the most dangerous terror groups threatening the united states. yeah. mmmm! 5 swirled diamonds, new in lucky charms! i'm gonna crack like nobody's watching and eat like i skipped lunch. why? because red lobster's crabfest is back. and i'm diving into so much crab so many ways. like crab lover's dream with luscious snow and king crab legs and rich crab alfredo or this snow crab bake.
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let's bring in our correspondent brian todd who is working the story for us. what are you learning? >> tonight kim jong-un's regime is brazenly taunting the united states saying we have nuclear women's. deal with it. kim's end game is to intimidate his neighbors and to extort the united states. brimming with confidence even cockiness, kim jong-un's regime tells america, we're not iran. >> we do not have any interest at all in dialogue for unilaterally freezing or giving up our nukes. >> state department officials have responded saying they still want dialogue with north korea. are committed to drawing down the nuclear weapons. the kim regime's bravado comes from leverage knowing they already have a formidable stockpile. >> they want the world to accept they are a nuclear weapons state and they're not going back. >> reporter: analysts say kim is moving in the opposite direction fast. building his arsenal at a
dangerous rate. >> north korea could have 10 to 15 nuclear women's now and it can grow that amount by several weapons per year. >> reporter: possibly to between 50 and 100 by the end of 2020. the north koreans have done three underground nuclear bomb tests. they claim they can miniaturize a weapon to fit on a warhead. analysts say they can launch nuclear warheads which can hit south korea or japan. they don't have the capability to hit the united states yet but they're working on it. kim's regime said their program protects they will from the u.s. and they say their nuclear deterrent is not a play thing. experts say they seem to be using it as one to intimidate and extort. experts say he might freeze part of his program or promise not to export to terrorist groups or other threatening regimes and in return he'll want sanctions lifted. the m.o. of a high level mafia don the kim family and the
services under them run an international drug counterfeiting singled cat so in a way they are like a mafia family. they're in the business of extortion. they export tension, they export fear. >> reporter: the key question tonight works kim launch his nuclear women's? analysts say that's the frightening and unknown part of the equation. they say one thing he's been willing to do is to show they are willing to risk more than the u.s. >> you have some new information on these. >> they say he is reshuffling his deck especially within his military. we're told he has gone through at least four difference defense ministers including the one he just executed in i am a. there's evidence that when young military troops are toward deploy part of the training is witnessing the execution of a soldier or an officer who is accused of disloyalty to send
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>> we learn about the influence of the gunman who carried out the deadly attack in chattanooga. suicide or murder. new detail and video of a woman who was arrested after a traffic stop. we'll tell you what officials are revealing tonight. >> trump's new method. he is unleashing a new kind of attack releasing the phone number of a rival on national tv. are voters eating it up. and flying gun. a teenager mounlts a home made firearm on a drone and records a video that goes viral and triggers a federal investigation. is this remote controlled shooting machine legal? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the